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Published November 12, 2009, 05:11 PM

Senator Kent Conrad Supports Wind Energy

The United States spends about $500 billion each year on energy that comes from other countries. Some senators, including North Dakota's Kent Conrad, are now pushing for more of that energy to be generated in America.

By: Renee Chmiel, WDAZ

The United States spends about $500 billion dollars each year on energy that comes from other countries. Some senators, including North Dakota's Kent Conrad, are now pushing for more of that energy to be generated in America. Conrad says North Dakota has the potential to be an energy hub for the United States. He says investing in wind energy would strengthen the economy.

Though the more than 100 turbines were hard to see in the fog, Senator Kent Conrad got an inside look at one of them at the Langdon Wind Energy Center today. He's been working with other senators to promote wind energy.

Sen. Kent Conrad: "I think partly as a result of our efforts the energy committee has taken action, put out a bipartisan bill."

He says it's ready for floor action at any time, and that it would help promote wind energy in states like North Dakota. He says the elements of the plan are to...

Sen. Kent Conrad: "provide additional incentives for wind energy and one of the things we have is a wind energy credit, but it only has a limited life to it."

The plan would extend the credit, giving developers more certainty. North Dakota ranks number one in wind energy potential, so more wind farms like the one near Langdon would need to be built.

One wind turbine alone can generate one and a half megawatts of energy, in other words, enough to power 25,000 homes.

Doug Darling: "I think North Dakota would be a perfect hub for wind energy in terms of the wind resource that we have in the state."

But before North Dakota can become this hub for energy, people say there are steps that need to be taken first.

Doug Darling: "The money that they spend shipping the turbines and towers in here is incredible. We need to look at manufacturing those right here where they're going to be used."

Sen. Kent Conrad: "We can't move the power to where it's needed. We need to get down into that Chicago market."

Wind farms also help boost the economy. The wind farm near Langdon employs 14 people and pays more than $500,000 in property taxes to North Dakota.

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